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This recipe for soft molasses cookies is an old family recipe. (One of many tasty recipes from our Great-Great-Aunt Lizzie Reilly.) The dash of chili powder is my little tweak. I hope G-G-Aunt Lizzie would approve.
Our family loves these cookies; they're so tasty and super soft.
What do molasses cookies taste like?
Molasses cookies are loaded with spice: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger—all the warming spices that are inextricably linked with the holidays and warm, cozy vibes on cold, snowy days. My cookies also have a pinch of chili powder for an earthy and lightly spicy note.
Molasses cookies are also made with dark brown sugar and molasses, so they have that deep, cooked sugar flavor, almost like that of dark rum.
The sweet, dark sugars, warm spices, and soft texture make these cookies irresistible.
Why you'll love this recipe
An old-fashioned molasses cookie recipe is a classic that everyone loves. Yes, everyone. I mean, there's literally not a single human being on the planet Earth that doesn't love an old-fashioned molasses cookie. (Based on my research... I did my best to reach out to every single human.)
This soft molasses spice cookie recipe includes molasses and brown sugar. Because they're also made with buttermilk, the cookies have a bit of tanginess and they're extra tender.
Make a batch in December for sure, but soft molasses drop cookies are also worth making in the fall... or the spring... or in the middle of February, too. Even in the summertime, they'd be delicious: imagine molasses cookies sandwiched with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. YUM!
The molasses cookies recipe is to pull together. It needs just 30 minutes to chill, and you can make the dough ahead of time, too.
Make this recipe for Christmas breakfast: Who Hash!
🔪 How to make the best Soft Molasses Cookies
- Shortening: a vegetable shortening like Crisco
- Butter: unsalted is always my choice
- Dark brown sugar: for color and flavor
- Eggs: use large eggs
- Molasses: they're molasses cookies, after all!
- Flour: use all-purpose
- Baking soda: to help the cookies rise
- Spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and chili powder
- Buttermilk: to help the rise and for a little tang
- Optional: chocolate and crystalized ginger to add to the baked cookies
Step 1: Make the cookie dough
Cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar. Add in the eggs and molasses. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Blend this with the wet mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Chill the dough for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Scoop the dough
Place rolled cookie dough balls on a prepared baking sheet.
Step 3: Bake!
Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, then let them cool. Enjoy!
Store the cookies in an airtight container, or in a resealable bag with all the air pressed out. Keep the cookies at room temperature for up to one week.
It's important to keep them stored in an airtight container or bag so that they don't get hard and stale. Another trick you can do to help keep your cookies soft is to put a piece of soft bread in the bag or container with them.
Yes, these cookies do freeze well. Place them in a freezer-proof, resealable bag with the air pressed out. Store them in the freezer for up to three months. Allow the cookies to thaw in the fridge still in their bag.
- Want to dress these cookies up a little? Give them a dunk in melted chocolate and add minced crystallized ginger. Find instructions for this step in the recipe card.
Find the recipe for Soft Molasses Cookies below. And as long as you have cookies on your brain, here are a few other cookie recipes:
💬 How do you like these cookies? Leave a comment below!
Soft Molasses Cookies
- ⅓ cup vegetable shortening
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup molasses
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ cup buttermilk
Optional ingredients for coating:
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
- 1 ounce crystallized ginger pieces
Make the cookie dough:
- Cream together the shortening, butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) for 5 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the molasses to the bowl and mix everything together well.
- In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and chili powder. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture in 2 or 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.
- Cover the bowl and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
Bake the cookies:
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Use a small cookie dough scoop (2 teaspoon size) to place dollops of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheet: the cookies spread to be about 2¾ inch in diameter, so leave space between each cookie.
- Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, until the edges are just set. Transfer them immediately to a cooking rack.
- Makes 72 cookies. Once completely set, store the cookies in an airtight container for up to one week.
Optional: Dip in chocolate and add crystallized ginger
- Melt 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips and 2 teaspoons of vegetable shortening in the top of a double-boiler, or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat and stir the chocolate and shortening until it is melted and smooth.
- Dunk half of each cookie into the melted chocolate, then lay them on sheets of wax paper. Add a few bits of minced crystallized ginger to the still-wet chocolate. Allow the cookies to sit until the chocolate has cooled and set, about 30-40 minutes.
- These cookies freeze well. Place them in a freezer-proof, resealable bag with the air pressed out. Store them in the freezer for up to three months. Allow the cookies to thaw in the fridge still in their bag.
These look absolutely divine! Thanks for sharing at Food on Friday.
The Armchair Squid
They look yummy. The ladies at my house both love ginger and would heartily approve.
Thank you Squid!